Discovery

Some call it Phase 0, some call it Discovery, some call it working at the Fuzzy Front End. We call it the best opportunity you have to uncover opportunity and establish the right direction for new product development.

Applying a collaborative approach, we can help you chart a path forward. Perhaps you want to explore possibilities to enhance the user experience through innovative solutions. Perhaps you need a defined strategy to guide project prioritization or to align business stakeholders to a common vision. Perhaps you want to survey the market landscape for the next big trends or determine where you can create a new trend. In all cases, understanding the opportunity space (including unmet user needs, underserved markets, or emerging trends) will be key to your success.

Accordingly, we recommend that you diligently study what you should create before you start to create, and we can serve in a crucial role. Specifically, we can provide the right cross-functional team from our large pool of researchers, designers, human factors specialists, engineers and regulatory experts to clarify the following:

  • Outstanding user needs and unfulfilled desires
  • Development opportunities and value propositions
  • Competitive landscape and analysis
  • Trend reports
  • Exploration of early solutions, including ideation and evaluation
  • Risk potential and regulatory pathways

The discovery process is one that embraces divergence followed by convergence and includes the following steps:

  • Explore: Research and analyze impacts to the user experience, including safety, scope, feasibility, and unresolved user needs.
  • Diverge: Lead collaborative design sessions to explore the “design space” and, ultimately, produce a wide range of both practical and blue-sky concepts.
  • Evaluate: Present concepts, as sketches or prototypes, to prospective users and stakeholders to collect impressions and recommendations.
  • Converge: Select and refine the most promising concept(s) as a starting point for focused product development or broader product strategy.
  • Confirm: Conduct a cross-functional review of polished concepts with key stakeholders to confirm feasibility and gain alignment on selected directions. This review might determine the need for further research or development to inform decision making, noting that a design iteration is not a negative outcome but an opportunity to drive excellence.

We approach our work in a down-to-earth manner that stresses substance over style alone. As such, we see ourselves as the right partner to drive a discovery process leading reliably to winning concepts that promise to meet or exceed functional needs and deliver a great user experience.

Examples

We spent days observing the use of telemetry technology on a medical/surgical unit in a hospital to help determine the course of future development efforts.

We worked with parents of infants to determine the desirable characteristics of an infant-sized nebulizer.

We conducted observations and interviews of EMTs and paramedics to determine the desirable features of a patient monitor/defibrillator.

We examined the workspaces of a cancer treatment center and interviewed physicians, nurses, administrators, and cancer patients to determine opportunities for system-level improvements to patient care.

We conducted observations and interviews of clinicians and patients in dialysis clinics to help shape a vision for home dialysis solutions.